* Posts by Naselus

1526 posts • joined 26 Aug 2014

Tech widens the educational divide. And I should know – I'm a teacher in a pandemic


The problem is that the format of schools has very little to do with educating students, and quite a lot to do with babysitting while parents are at work. Keeping the kids at home rather laid this bare.

All studies suggest that a highly trained adult (multiple post-grad degrees and years of experience and training) can engage in creative learning for perhaps 4 hours in a day, split into 3-4 separate periods. For untrained children, it is likely that, in ideal circumstances, at best, they can realistically manage an hour and a half split into two or three fairly short sessions, starting no earlier than 11am so the kids are well-rested and ready for some actual work. Lecturing from the blackboard starting at 08:30 is possibly the worst method of delivering learning, and schools appear to willfully go against any academic advice on how best to improve educational outcomes.

Ultimately, you could probably achieve better learning outcomes keeping the kids at home and engaging in maybe 2 hours of well-crafted, engaging educational content a day. Trying to replicate school's failed 8-hour model at home was doomed to fail, but the problem wasn't to do with tech or hybridization - the content is the issue and however you choose to deliver it it's been failing the majority of pupils for decades.

When the bits hit the fan: What to do when ransomware strikes


Re: Did Mr Connor ask the finance director

Yes, it's remarkable how effective the phase 'And can I get that in writing?' is at making senior managers suddenly take something seriously.

Docker’s cash conundrum is becoming a bet on a very different future


Re: "Progressive pricing may seem dangerously like socialism"

ow have you read the Register this long with a broken snark detector?

Apple engineers complain of hostile work environment to US labor watchdog


Re: Obviously Someone Hasn't Been Reading Stuff

" As a "right to work" state both employer and employee are free to terminate their relationship at any time without prejudice. "

Uh, California is not a right to work state, and that is not what right to work means anyway.

"The right-to work-law lets employees get the benefit of union contracts without paying dues and fees to a union." - https://www.upcounsel.com/right-to-work-law

Trial of Theranos boss Elizabeth Holmes begins: She plans to say her boyfriend and COO Balwani abused her


Re: Mad as a cut snake

"er... this appears to be, broadly speaking, the tactic and strategy of ANY business venture :)"

Roughly speaking, every episode of Shark Tank is an attempt to figure out precisely how much to bet that the CEO can reach IPO before everyone discovers the idea is a complete crock of shit.


Re: Going to be a tough sell

Given the absolute shenanigans her lawyers have already gotten upto thus far, I don't find this latest approach any more credible than the last lot. They've pretty much exemplified 'if you don't have the law or the facts on your side, pound the table' over the last, what, five years?

See that last line in the access list? Yeah, that means you don't have an access list


Honestly, almost everywhere I've worked in the last ten years has turned out to have an any-any allow buried in it's firewalls somewhere. Usually added in time immemorial and requiring literally days of plodding through traffic captures to kill off.

US SEC chair calls for crypto regulation


Re: Probably Long Overdue

"Because many see the disconnect between labour and value as a fundamental problem with our economy."

You can believe that the disconnect between labour and value is a problem without automatically having to believe that all labour necessarily has value. Breaking large rocks into small rocks with a teaspoon requires a lot more labour than doing it with a sledgehammer. This does not mean that teaspoon-broken small rocks have more value to a small-rock buyer than sledgehammer-broken ones.

Ultimately, you're arguing an economic tautology - 'why did you spend so much effort making this? Because it has value. But why does it have value? Because I spent so much effort making it...."

Remember Anonymous? It/they might be back, and it/they are angry with Elon Musk


Re: I thought ...

There's little overlap.

Anonymous is made up of people posting jokes on 4Chan.

QAnon is made up of people who can't tell what Anonymous posted was a joke.

Elon Musk hits the brakes on taking Bitcoin for Tesla purchases


Re: Fantastic Market Opportunities ...... Ponzis to the Moon and Achilles Heel Arrows

Amanfrommars isn't left or right, his political affiliation is probably best described as either 'upside down' or 'lemon flavoured'.

Intel throws sand in the face of 'musclebooks' with 10nm Tiger Lake tech



"The Core i9-11980HK, for example, is an eight-core 2.6GHz-4.9GHz component touted as outpacing a comparable AMD by around 20 per cent "

'Comparable' in this case meaning 'one from 3 years ago'.

SolarWinds CEO describes overhauled Orion build system after that 'very small, unique' security breach


Re: Time warp

It's all relative to Csuite execs tbh. For example, 18,000 is a small number when it's being added to their own paycheck, but a very large number when I'm asking for it to be added to mine.

Train operator phlunks phishing test by teasing employees with non-existent COVID bonus


Re: I did something similar

I recall at least one very long day back on the helldesk twenty years ago wasting several hours trying to explain to a customer's CEO that no, I could not get the money he'd sent over to the Nigerian Prince two weeks earlier back. All while trying desperately not to use the term 'your own stupid fault'.

Often, more highly educated people are more vulnerable, since they're more likely to be in position where they get used to receiving legitimate emails asking for them to send money around. This idiot thought it was a genuine business opportunity because he got real business emails every day which weren't particularly different from this - emails sent from blackberries with awful spelling asking him to transfer 20 grand over.


Re: The whole intention of a phishing attack is to make it both believable and tempting

One of our customers spoofed one of our genuine email addresses to conduct an internal phishing test. And then some of their (blissfully unaware) users contacted us to warn us that someone had spoofed our email address.

I'm still surprised we didn't sue them for wasting our whole IT department's time for a full morning tbh.


Re: But isn't this what (real) criminals would do?

Yes, it's a perfectly valid and effecting phishing test. On the other hand, the timing might be considered poor taste.

Samsung stops providing security updates to the Galaxy S8 at grand old age of four years


Well, what do you expect if you only had to pay... wait, HOW MUCH?

Philanthropist and ex-Microsoft manager Melinda Gates and her husband Bill split after 27 years of marriage


The Gates' have given about $36 billion into the endowment. Which is a very significant fraction of their personal wealth. Warren Buffet has also contributed about $30 billion to it.

The foundation has spent about $55 billion on it's various projects, and has about $40 billion in assets.

We can debate whether people owning tens of billions of dollars is a good thing or not (I tend to think the existence of billionaires suggests your economy doesn't work right, for much the same reason large pools of stagnant water collecting in our house means that your plumbing isn't working right), but regardless of what it says about society as a whole, there's little doubt that the Gates have given a lot of money to it, and that it has done a great deal of good in combatting several extremely awful diseases.


Re: Clippy!

"We evolved from apes? Did we really?"

Yes, we did. All Hominins are part of the Hominidae family, which contains all humans and the other apes So literally every human ancestor in the last 10 million years or so has indeed been an ape..

Ever wondered what it's like working for Microsoft? Leaked survey shines a light on how those at the code coalface feel


Re: what was NOT said

"I am pretty well convinced that even if I am perceived as being a coding genius beyond all doubt, I would NEVER be able to work there."

You have a valid point. Many companies are unwilling to hire even tremendously talented people if they're complete arseholes.

How not to apply for a new job: Apply for it on a job site


Re: another beautiful bit of prose

" the entire recruitment industry is mostly filled with people that couldn't hack it or make it in the industries that they recruit for"

I thought having anything to do with the industry you're actually recruiting for was strongly discouraged tbh. Every tech recruiter I know seems to have a 2:2 in English Lit from the University of Teeside.

Their 'next job could be in cyber': UK Cyber Security Council launches itself by pointing world+dog to domain it doesn't own


Re: Looks like they are retraining

Fatima's next job is probably back in ballet.

Google halves Android app fee to 15% for lower-earning devs... who aren't responsible for majority of revenue anyway


Re: "it was a smaller cut than the alternatives"

When they initially set up the storefronts, Apple, Google etc painted themselves as competing with bricks-and-mortar retailers, who were taking a 60-70% cut for software distribution. 30% looks great compared to that.

Of course, the service they're actually delivering is a lot closer to a payment processing service like Visa or Mastercard, who take about 3%... which makes that 30% look much worse. And then they refuse to allow you to distribute via any alternative.

I honestly don't see how anyone can realistically claim this isn't an open and shut case of leveraging a monopoly, tbh. Particularly given Apple's tendency to introduce inferior products and then using the app tax to undercut their competitors (Apple music v spotify being the poster child for that one, but there's dozens of examples).

Remember that day in 2020 when you were asked to get the business working from home – by tomorrow?


Re: stinkpads

indeed, my own 12-year-old Thinkpad just won't die. The thing is an absolute tank and has taken more abuse than Meghan Markle at a UK press awards event.


Re: Zoom - March 2020

We already had 3 video conferencing tools in place when the business demanded we sort out Zoom for them last year. We politely explained the (very large) number of reasons that we felt Zoom was fine for chatting with your nan during lockdown but not for secure internal business communications, and refused to fork out for a license. They weren't happy about it but thankfully IT leadership held firm.

The business finally, grudgingly conceded we were right a few weeks later when all those Zoom crasher stories came out in the news.

Just when you thought it was safe to enjoy a beer: Beware the downloaded patch applied in haste


Re: Reply To All

Bit of a sledgehammer response. Reply-all is useful in conversations with about ten participants. Just lock down permissions to send to certain address lists - almost no-one needs to be allowed to send to all@company.com, and the addresses which are allowed to often don't need to reply to anything ever.

So it appears some of you really don't want us to use the word 'hacker' when we really mean 'criminal'


"8. [deprecated] A malicious meddler who tries to discover sensitive information by poking around. Hence `password hacker', `network hacker'. The correct term is {cracker}."

Sigh, better times.

The torture garden of Microsoft Exchange: Grant us the serenity to accept what they cannot EOL


Re: Ah...Exchange Admin

If you can admin it via Powershell commands, it's really not so bad. The GUI admin stuff is increasingly aimed at first-line admins and is deliberately quite gimped so that you can't screw things up too much.

Of course, that means doing actual Exchange admin work now requires an advanced level of powershell use. But MS have openly said that they want that to be the future of serious IT administration anyway.

UK monopoly watchdog launches probe after iOS app makers slam Apple software store's draconian T&Cs


Epic had a good point and would've had a solid case if they hadn't messed about with stupid PR stunts in breach of contract, tho.


Re: In two minds ...

Theoretically, even if you only had 1 customer but you exercised monopolistic control over access to them, you can be forced to lose control. Just no-one would bother to sue you because you're monopolizing access to Peter's wallet.

The monopoly Apple is exercising is on the aftermarket. Yes, Apple users can change to another device if they want to, but they're not the ones who are being unfairly affected by the monopoly and so they have no incentive to do so. It's developers who want to access those users who are, but since the customers aren't incentivised to move they're powerless to act against the monopolist. Since the App store is the only way to sell apps to people using iPhones, and there's no alternative storefront permitted, you must deal with Apple to access the aftermarket of iPhone users. Apple take advantage of that fact to charge rents to developers wishing to do that - a more literal 'Apple Tax' than the absurd markups on $999 monitor stands and $600 wheel castor sets.

Apple execs themselves have admitted that the app store is almost pure profit. The 30% figure was plucked more or less out of thin air, and while Apple (and Google, and Steam, for that matter) like to compare themselves to bricks-and-mortar retailers (which charge a much higher markup, so 30% looks great), most economists think a fairer comparison for what's actually provided are payment systems like Visa or Mastercard - which have been extremely profitable for half a century charging just 3%.

Other examples of this include the Epic games thing - Epic have their own payment system for in-app purchases, since they're running it on multiple different platforms. Apple shut them down because they insist on you using Apple's payment setup, even if you don't need to or want to, and then charge you 30% of your revenue for the privilege.

It's a monopolistic abuse of their position as the hardware vendor to force software vendors to pay them a tax to access users, and is far more egregious than anything Microsoft did in the 90s.

Chrome release cycle accelerated to four-weekly frenzy


Re: Desktop OS

Think there's some confusing at El Reg between vendor and OS here - Chromebook shipments overtook Macs last year but places 1, 2 and 3 in the PC markets are all vendors shipping Windows machines.

Also, shipment =/= usage. All the stats from Gartner say is that more Chromebooks were sent out to retail than Apple machines were. It doesn't mean they actually sold to users, and even if they were, more MacOS machines will still have been in use in the wild simply cos they've outsold chromebooks for the majority of the last refresh cycle..

I haven't bought new pants for years, why do I have to keep buying new PCs?


Personally, I like the adorable way that my elderly relatives and their friends think offering me a tenner for doing 2 hours work on their PCs is generously 'helping me out'. They don't appear to have entirely understood that while that was great when I was an unemployed 18 year old, now I'm a 40 year old IT consultant it's not quite as tempting an offer, and I mostly take the money just so they don't feel like charity recipients.

One of them even suggested I could maybe charge as much as £20 per callout.


Re: I hate to say it, as I don't like the way they work...

Arguable tbh.

My increasingly elderly mother has a phobia about touchsreens; she refuses to accept that they work and the only tabletoid she'll touch is one of the ancient non-touch Kindles with the wheel at the bottom. An iPad will be sneered at for 20 minutes then abandoned and never, ever charged, so we're on keyboard and mouse machines - preferably of the desktop variety, since the idea of moving around with a machine will be treated as borderline witchcraft.

She can navigate Windows because she's used one variant or another for 30 years, but the idea of teaching her to use a different OS at this point is a non-starter, unless Apple release a version of MacOS which exactly simulates Windows 95's UI.


My sister used to ask me for tech support until I explained my hourly consultancy rate.


Re: When you say "pants",

In the British sense, I've owned pants longer than some computers last. In the American sense, I've worn them continuously for longer.

Like a challenge in a high profile 'face-of-IT' role? Welcome to the Home Office


Re: Arse about face!

Never make the mistake of believing that value for money or accountability are remotely important objectives for government contracts, when the real purpose is generally 'how many jobs will this make in reasonably marginal constituencies'.

The job in question is 'person who gets the blame for the terrible contract Priti selected to create 3k IT jobs for unemployed coal miners in Sunderland'.

Homo sapiens: Hey you, Neanderthals! Neanderthals: We heard that


Re: Species or specious?

The definition of 'species' isn't quite as clear-cut as the biology textbooks like to pretend tbh. Some biologists have actually proposed abolishing it as an unhelpful categorization system which draws arbitrary lines between groups of organisms and only really make sense as a snapshot in time. Moreover, whichever way you attempt to define speciation, there usually turns out to be a whole load of exceptions to the rules. Is it physical similarity? But there's extreme variation in the physical form of many animals. Is it interbreeding? Lots of separate species can interbreed.

After all, at some point some individuals which we categorize as Homo Ergaster must have been capable of interbreeding with some individuals we categorize as Homo Sapiens. Where you pick to draw the line between the two species is pretty arbitrary, since the every generation is able to interbreed with (and not physiologically significantly different from) the generations immediately preceding and succeeding it.

The same thing applies to ring species that are alive today - Finch A can interbreed with Finch B, and Finch B can interbreed with Finch C, but A and C cannot. They're all types on finch, but is B a subspecies of A, a subspecies of C, or are two of them a subspecies of finch and the third for some reason not since it can only interbreed with some finches?

It's a wonderful system for looking at the big picture, but once you get into the weeds it turns out that it doesn't map to reality very well.

Microsoft previews Windows Server 2022: Someone took a spanner to core plumbing features


"we all know how well that worked out for efficentcy."

What, you mean they conquered most of the Western world as all organized opposition collapsed in an extremely short space of time before eventually their security apparatus began to collapse in the face of hordes of Russians wielding cheap, inferior technology?

Actually, that does sound a lot like the history of Windows :D


"You have mmc, which doesn't appear to be discoverable from the gui, and has more things."

I always figured that was deliberate, on the principal of "If you're working with stuff that needs MMC, you already know about MMC. If you don't know about MMC, then the stuff you can do in there is not for the likes of you to know the wot of."

I figure the same reasons apply for the enormously different capabilities of ExchangeShell and the EAC. Mere GUI-using exchange admins are not permitted to meddle with the awesome powers granted to the shell-speakers.

Hacking is not a crime – and the media should stop using 'hacker' as a pejorative


Re: The quick hack

The (TMRC-correct) parlance for that would be a kludge.

Apple, forced to rate product repair potential in France, gives itself modest marks


Re: Of course its easily repairable

It's surprising how quickly 'geniuses' turn to 'why not just buy a new one' when asked to actually, y'know, fix something. Almost like they're over-titled sales drones rather than trained support staff or something.

AI-generated pixelated photo of AOC in a bikini pulled from paper highlighting danger of AI-generated pics


Re: you need to go out side more

Have to say, watching the BLM footage from last summer, it seemed mostly to be the white vigilantes and cops holding weapons tbh.

SolarWinds: Hey, only as many as 18,000 customers installed backdoored software linked to US govt hacks


"Are we not doing it? Are the "enemy actors" too embarrassed to admit when they've found us hacking them? Or are we just not getting caught?"

We are doing it, we are getting caught, and we're not bothering to report it because obviously when we do it it's Our Brave Boys Foiling Putin's Dastardly Schemes and when they do it it's Evil Johnny Foreigner Bent on World Domination.

Why did Johnny and Jenny's exam grades yo-yo over the summer? Here's some of the code behind UK results chaos


Re: well done for publishing

if (ETON =1)

{ Grade++}



LibreOffice rains on OpenOffice's 20th anniversary parade, tells rival project to 'do the right thing' and die


Re: @Charlie Clark - Rally!

Because any attempt at merging would result in standard open source behaviour, and rather than reducing it to one project to rule them all, we'd instead have 3 - True Open Office, True Libre Office , and Bastard Lovechild Open Libre. And all three would then continue for the rest of eternity too.


Re: "We were caught quite off guard"

"I’m not sure what Pascal is talking about here. Microsoft demonstrated to the public that Office 95 still runs on Windows 10."

I think the 16-bit version of office 95 doesn't work on the 64-bit version of Win 10?

After Trump, Congress, Supreme Court Justice hit out at tech giants' legal immunity, now FCC boss wants to stick his oar in, too


Re: Brown-nosing

Think the context of the remark suggests he's impersonating a Trump supporter when he says that statement. He could do with learning the correct use of quotation marks to avoid a dogpile of unnecessary downvotes tho.

Elizabeth Holmes' plan to avoid her Theranos fraud trial worked out about as well as her useless blood-testing machines


Re: This Case is Only Remarkable because

Sure, and Bernie Madoff only made the news because he's secretly a disabled gay transvestite or something.


Re: Hold on lads!

"There's a difference between detecting bullshit and being the victim of fraud."

Is there in this case tho? A lot of genuine experts in blood testing were pointing out that what Theranos was claiming to be able to do was physically impossible years before the WSJ revealed that it was all a fraud. Basic due diligence should have (and for most specialist biotech investors did) suggested something fishy before anyone opened their cheque books.

UK govt advert encouraging re-skilling for cyber jobs implodes spectacularly


Re: Im offened

Yes, this is the bit which got me really. Infosec positions tend to be highly technical and typically require a fairly large amount of general IT experience as a background before you can really break into them, which is one of the main reasons why the gov's desperate attempts to close the skills gap in the field over the last five years has had no noticeable impact. Most politicians and senior civil servants remain locked in the mindset that any job aside from the 'classic professions' can be picked up from a three week course at the job centre.

Excel Hell: It's not just blame for pandemic pandemonium being spread between the sheets


Re: What should I use instead

It depends what you're doing. Are you doing something that a spreadsheet is actually for? Then contine using Excel. Are you doing something that a spreadsheet is not actually for? Then go and find something that is designed for the thing you're doing and stop blaming Excel for not being a word processor/database/first person shooter/Boeing 747.

Spreadsheets originated in accounting as basically manual calculators. Computerized spreadsheets are, at their heart, automatic calculators - much like, y'know, actual desktop calculators, only generally more feature-rich. That feature richness has led to people forgetting that what they're looking at is basically still a mechanism intended to facilitate doing fairly small numbers of relatively basic 2 or 3 decimal place calculations.

Use it as a calculator and you're generally ok (not for hyperaccurate statistical stuff, but few people outside the sciences need that and those that do know not to use Excel generally). Use it for anything else - storing vast amounts of data long-term, or just as a table-making device or what have you - and it will probably let you down. Yes, you can use Excel to code a game, or to make art, or to store large amounts of data. You can also cook your Christmas turkey with a blow torch, but it's not really the right tool for the job.


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